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How to send certified mail

Updated February 21, 2017

When you drop something in the mailbox, you may wonder if it will ever reach its destination. That's where certified mail comes into play. This service from the Unites States Postal Service allows you to verify if the item you sent has been delivered.

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  1. Go to your local post office and ask for a certified mail Form 3800, a green sticker with a barcode. Fill out the form with the name and address of the recipient.

  2. Affix the sticker in the correct position on the item. The label part goes above the delivery address, on the right side of the return address. It can also be put to the left of the address on parcels.

  3. Pay the postage fee for whatever method you choose, such as First Class or Priority. Pay for Certified Mail and any other services you may request. Certified mail can only be addressed to locations in the United States, its territories and to APOs and FPOs.

  4. Send Certified Mail from your post office or have your carrier pick it up. If you want one particular person to receive and sign for the mail, you can request Restricted Delivery service. This is a separate fee.

  5. You may also request Return Receipt service, which lets you obtain the recipient's signature. You can receive the receipt by mail or by e-mail, which will include a PDF with an image of the signature. This is especially useful for court matters. This is a separate fee and can be purchased before or after you have sent Certified Mail.

  6. Track your mail by going to the USPS website (see Resouces below) and entering the article number found on your receipt. You can also call (800) 222-1811.

  7. Tip

    The post office keeps a record of the delivery and the signature of the recipient only for a certain period. Act promptly if you need evidence for legal or business matters.

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About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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